Roy Hodgson: 'Bring it on'

England boss Roy Hodgson looks ahead to tonight's crucial game against Poland and declares: "Bring it on."

Last Updated: 15/10/13 at 19:12 Post Comment

England boss Roy Hodgson looks ahead to tonight's crucial game against Poland and declares: "Bring it on."

After guiding his side through an unbeaten World Cup qualifying campaign, England play their final match knowing victory is essential to book a direct trip to next summer's finals in Brazil.

The safety net of a play-off place dangles below should Hodgson get it wrong but he knows that two-legged lottery offers no guarantees.

To be certain, England must win.

"We can do no more," he said.

"We've prepared. We're ready. Bring it on."

So bullish ahead of Friday's win over Montenegro, Hodgson has retained his confidence.

Yet, not for him the veneer of impregnability some choose to adopt in such situations.

Hodgson's nerves were shown in the raw when he was biting his nails on the bench as England reached half-time without a goal in their last outing.

And he was not prepared to claim the hours before kick-off will pass serenely by on Tuesday.

"I'm a worrier," he said.

"Anyone who works in football is a worrier.

"It won't be my best night's sleep because all of my waking thoughts are around England versus Poland. It's not good we've got to wait until Tuesday evening for it.

"But I have great faith and trust in the players.

"I couldn't be putting a stronger or more confident bunch of players onto the field.

"But football is not a science. Things can happen in games you don't want to happen."

Hodgson was in South Africa in 1973 when England took on Poland in a game they needed to win to reach the World Cup but only drew.

"I was preparing to come home," he said.

"I was going to get on the train to Cape Town, then a boat from there to Southampton. There was no television in South Africa at that time."

He has experience of such tense situations though, having spent time with Glenn Hoddle ahead of England's visit to Rome in 1997 for the goalless draw with Italy that proved enough for qualification.

"He was quite relaxed," said Hodgson.

"It was a very big game but I didn't get any particular vibrations that he was suffering in any way.

"His approach was probably like ours: 'I've got a good England team that's capable of producing a result'."

Hodgson sat alongside Sir Bobby Robson in the Sky Sports studio and celebrated the success like the patriot he is.

Now, the responsibility is all on his shoulders.

It is Hodgson who must confirm exactly how England intend to subdue brilliant Bayern Munich-bound forward Robert Lewandowski and who will make the call between Phil Jones and Chris Smalling as replacement for the suspended Kyle Walker.

The 66-year-old also needs to confirm whether Andros Townsend is going to get a chance to back-up Friday's man-of-the-match display, and if skipper Steven Gerrard is going to get an alternative midfield partner to Frank Lampard.

Hodgson has spoken to some of the men who have been there before him, although strangely given their backgrounds, not Graham Taylor, whose failure to reach the 1994 tournament scars an otherwise impressive managerial CV.

Yet Hodgson feels there is only so much to be gained from counselling opinion.

For the journey itself is an individual one.

"I don't know if those things help you," he said.

"There's not so much that can be said. It's something you have to experience yourself.

"If it comes off and you get what you want, you must get a tremendous feeling of pride and satisfaction which I'll share with Steven Gerrard tomorrow night, hopefully, if we've won it.

"But you have to be aware of the flipside, the other side of the coin.

"You can imagine what's ahead and guess how it's going to be in various situations, but you have to be in there and doing it.

"The important thing is being in there and doing it with a good team.

"Good teams protect you and I believe we have a good team now."


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